Landscape & Wildlife
Due to Omega’s airbase history, wildlife on the site was activity discouraged for a long time. However, it is far from valueless and there are pockets of wildlife and ecological interest across the site.
Proposals for Omega will provide focused, high-value ecological areas which will sustain and enhance wildlife and ecology and allow movement across the site through corridors running North/South, and East/West.
A sensitive approach
Throughout the design process for Omega, findings from environmental studies have been used to shape the approach to landscape and wildlife enhancement and preservation.
OWL is looking to balance occupier and new residents’ demands and the needs of the existing wildlife habitats on the site, alongside its vision to create a high quality, ecologically diverse setting for all who work, live or visit.
Key features of the landscape and wildlife approach
- 30% of the overall site area to be set aside for landscape and ecological infrastructure
- Significant creation of new landscapes:
- woodland & scrub (8.3ha/ 20 acres)
- wetlands/ponds & swales (8.37ha/ 20 acres)
- new hedgerows (13.75km/ 9 miles)
- 28.12 ha (69 acres) of existing habitat to be retained/ enhanced
- Focus on a central ‘Green Heart’ landscape
- Enhancement of the area for amphibians – with water a key design element along with green corridors linking established ponds to the west and east
- Comprehensive landscape management strategy
The Green Heart
Habitat creation in this 35 acres central park and woodland landscape area would benefit species such as amphibians, bats, hare and hedgerow birds as well as the community that may wish to visit it.
This valuable open green space would be accessible to the whole Warrington community to use and would be linked across the site by green corridors providing opportunities for cycling, running or dog walking for all.
A Concept Plan for the Green Heart was submitted as part of the Zone 7 logistics and manufacturing planning application so that this can come forward sooner rather than later. Detailed design is yet to be undertaken for this most valuable asset and it is likely that OWL will hold workshops with local wildlife stakeholder and interest groups to help develop this design.
Can all landscaping be delivered early?
A great deal of time and money will be invested into landscaping for this site to make sure it provides a high quality setting as well as effective screening of business premises from existing and new homes. With this in mind, OWL will need to know the detail of how the buildings will be laid out to achieve the best possible result with landscaping.
At this stage, OWL will not have the detailed layout of buildings for Zone 7 logistics and manufacturing until occupiers are secured and their requirements are understood. Similarly, until OWL has house builders committed for the development of new homes, they will not know how this area will be laid out.
On this basis, OWL will look to deliver early landscaping on perimeter areas wherever possible; however to do so, they will need to be sure that any landscaping is in locations that will not cause problems for the development of the wider site or be at risk from construction activities on site. It would be of no benefit to the wider area if the landscaping is implemented prematurely and then needs to be relocated or removed.